On Wednesday evening, 1st May 2019, over 325 residents and friends assembled around the decorated stage and altar near the Holy Cross Oratory, to devoutly participate in praise, song and worship at the Feast Mass. The Managing Committee organized the 144th Thanksgiving Novena Services and Feast Mass Celebrations. This tradition has been handed down by our forefathers down the decades for well over a century to protect the resident families from the scourge of plague and pestilence. The traditional Novena Services include the recitation of the Holy Rosary, and the Litany of Our Lady, the Litany of the Holy Cross and the Litany of St. Roque [patron saint to safeguard us from plague and pestilence]. The nine day Novena Services commenced on Easter Monday, 22nd April and were well attended.
Reverend Father Lawrie Ferrao S.J., Parish Priest, St. Anne’s Church, Mazagon, was the Chief Celebrant at the Cross Feast Mass. Reverend Father Ruban, of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers, concelebrated the Feast Mass. As the Priests solemnly came in procession from “Eymard Cottage” [Headquarters of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers at 22 Matharpacady] to the Altar, Mr. Noel Viegas welcomed them on behalf of the Managing Committee and all present. The choir, requested the faithful to join in singing the entrance hymn “Here We Are” whole-heartedly as the Eucharistic Sacrifice began. During the homily, Father Lawrie emphasized on the need for all of us to accept our daily trials and tribulations in life as “Crosses” taking them up and bearing them in the spirit of true Christian faith. At the end of it all, it all comes down to the choices we make and how much we love. We have chosen to carry on this age old tradition of celebrating this feast, in thanksgiving to the Cross for having saved us from the plague which destroyed so many 144 years ago. And now in our daily lives, living here in Matharpacady, by consciously choosing to love and help each other, we thus pledge our love to the Cross, which saved us then and continues to save us now. The Celebrants blessed the congregation with the True Relic of the Cross as Holy Mass ended. At her Vote of Thanks, Mrs. Carole Viegas, President, expressed the Committee’s gratitude to Rev. Fr. Lawrie Ferrao for celebrating the Feast Mass and his inspiring homily, to Rev. Fr. Peter J. and the Blessed Sacrament Fathers for their constant support to the community, Rev. Fr. Herman Almeida, our Parish Priest, the Choir, the Trustees of St. Isabel’s High School, decorators, donors, benefactors and volunteers. The choir sang harmoniously hymns of praise and worship as residents went to the Holy Cross Oratory to kiss and venerate the Relic of the Cross and collect their boiled gram, cake, patties and cold drink.
The melodious singing by Sarah Dias and Elijah Monteiro of a duet “A Million Dreams” kept the audience rapt with attention. There were repeated rounds of applause and appreciation from the audience for the two of them. Thereafter, Desmond Baptista and Stanislaus Baptista kept folk happy and excited as they waited for Dame Fortune to smile on them during couple of games of “Housie”, Bingo! Many lucky ones did strike it rich on our Feast Day.
Compiled by Stanislaus Baptista, Treasurer, Matharpacady Holy Cross Oratory Committee